Program Update: NEFA is currently in a planning phase to determine how our programs and services can serve the Native arts community in New England. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore grant opportunities and services in other NEFA programs, and contact us with questions.
As part of our planning process, we have awarded planning grants to five Native-led organizations who have begun to explore the formation of an independent regional consortium. The Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance will be positioned to leverage the work of member organizations to bring resources and visibility to New England’s Native artists with support from private philanthropy.
This planning process is being led by Dawn Spears, former Native Arts program manager at NEFA, and participants include:
- Aquinnah Cultural Center (MA)
- Gedakina (VT, MA, ME)
- Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (ME)
- Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center (CT)
- Tomaquag Indian Museum (RI)
In 2005, the Ford Foundation invited NEFA to design a support system for New England’s Native artists. NEFA, in association with the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA), conducted gatherings with Native American artists and leaders throughout the region in 2005-2006. The recommendations heard at those meetings informed NEFA’s design of a program with staff leadership by a member of the Native community, created to serve a marginalized, underserved, and often invisible community of Native artists and organizations.
NEFA was then honored to be selected in 2007 as one of seven organizations across the U.S. that formed the Ford Foundation’s IllumiNation cohort. Other members of this distinguished group included the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, First Peoples Fund, Seventh Generation Fund, First Nations Composer Initiative, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the Evergreen State College Foundation Longhouse Education Cultural Center.
Additional support for Native Arts has been provided by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, anonymous foundations, tribal funders, and individual donors. The program is led by Program Manager Dawn Spears (Narragansett/Choctaw) with support from Program Associate Summer Confuorto (Gros Ventre/Mi'kmaq) and guided by an advisory board of Native artists, folklorists, and Native arts professionals.
impact & accomplishments
- Provided over $350,000 through 131 grants to 74 artists and nine organizations representing over 35 tribes through regional, national, and master-apprentice grantmaking areas
- Brought visibility to the region’s artists and their art through advocacy, press, and social media
- Re-connected diverse Native communities around the region via numerous workshops, gatherings, professional development opportunities, technical assistance, and conferences
- Produced the groundbreaking exhibit Native New England Now and companion publication of grantee work in partnership with MPMRC
- Created a New England Native American arts directory of both artists and organizations, recently converted to an online searchable format via NEFA’s CreativeGround website
- Connected many Native artists to other NEFA grantmaking programs and services
T. Lulani Arquette (Native Hawaiian) President/CEO, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation
David Moses Bridges (Passamaquoddy), artist
Marge Bruchac (Abenaki), storyteller
Judy Dow (Abenaki), artist
Jeremy Frey (Passamaquoddy), artist
Sherry Gould (Abenaki), artist
Maggie Holtzberg, Manager of the Folk Arts & Heritage Program at the
Charlene Jones (Mashantucket Pequot), NEFA Board of Directors (former)
Elizabeth Theobald Richards (Cherokee), Opportunity Agenda
Reuben Tomás Roqueñi (Yaqui/Mexican), Program Director, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation
Summer Confuorto (Gros Ventre/Mi’kmaq) | Program Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org | 617.951.0010 x533
Native Arts is made possible with funding from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Anonymous donors. NEFA is grateful to the Ford Foundation's Indigenous Knowledge and Expressive Culture program, which provided lead funding for the program from 2005 to 2013.